Junior Golf

Junior Heritage to return in 2014

Sea Pines will partner with S.C. Junior Golf Association to run event

mmccombs@islandpacket.comDecember 11, 2012 

It's back almost as quickly as it was gone.

The Heritage Classic Foundation announced Monday that the Sea Pines Junior Heritage will return to its usual dates Feb. 1-2, 2014.

The announcement comes less than two months after the foundation announced the tournament wouldn't take place in 2013 and the organization would likely replace the tournament with something that didn't have "the look and the feel of the Junior Heritage."

Starting in 2014, The Sea Pines Resort will partner with the S.C. Junior Golf Association to run the event with the support of the Heritage Classic Foundation.

"There's so much that goes into it -- logistics, sponsors, the site, the actual running of the event -- on a year-round basis," said Steve Wilmot, executive director of the Heritage Classic Foundation. "That's what the SCJGA does. We're collectively trying to work on some other things impacting junior golf as well. For the Heritage Classic Foundation, the sponsors and South Carolina golf, it's a win-win-win, all the way around."

"We are excited to be a part of the rich tradition that is the Junior Heritage," S.C. Golf Association executive director Happ Lathrop said in a news release.

The Sea Pines Resort's new clubhouse facility located at the Ocean and Heron Point Golf Courses also be unveiled in early 2014.

"We are thrilled for the return of the Sea Pines Junior Heritage. The renovations taking place at the Resort will only enhance what is already a nationally ranked junior event," The Sea Pines Resort director of operations Cary Corbitt said.

The Heritage Classic Foundation has a long relationship with the S.C. Golf Association, the S.C. Junior Golf Association and the S.C. Junior Golf Foundation.

The SCJGA's junior rankings have long been sponsored by MCI, a former Heritage sponsor, or the Heritage Classic Foundation, and the foundation is the presenting sponsor of the SCJGA's championship.

Along with the Bobby Chapman Invitational, hosted by the Country Club of Spartanburg, the SCJGA will now run two of the top 20 junior tournaments in the country, as rated by Golfweek.

Wilmot said the continuation of the tournament in 2014 wasn't something the organizers knew would happen before they canceled the event for 2013 but has developed since October.

"After we -- The Sea Pines Resort and the Heritage Classic Foundation -- agreed that it wasn't the right thing to continue in 2013," Wilmot said, "well, after some discussions and other conversations -- remember there are sponsors involved here, as well -- we felt this was the right thing, to continue down the path and see what we could do."

"It's a partnership we've had for a long time," Wilmot said, "and with the Junior Heritage, it's a partnership that will continue. We have a tremendous relationship with them. After we were resigned to closing the doors on 2013, they came back down a couple of weeks ago and said, 'let's lock it down' for 2014."

The decision not to hold the tournament in 2013, announced in October, was made by Sea Pines Resort director of golf John Farrell, Heritage Classic Foundation chairman Simon Fraser, Corbitt and Wilmot.

Corbitt said in October that though the Junior Heritage "had a strong field every year," the Jones Cup Junior Invitational event in Sea Island, Ga., is held in the same schedule slot and had presented a challenge for the tournament.

"We have not fully decided that we are getting out of junior golf, but there will be no Junior Heritage this year," Corbitt said at the time. "I will say that if we do something in the future, it will not have the look and the feel of the Junior Heritage."

The Junior Heritage began as a small local scholastic event in the mid 1980s. In 1989 the tournament expanded, and golfers from all over the South participated. Past boys champions include Charles Howell, III, Sean O'Hair and Kyle Stanley. Paula Creamer, Candie Kung, Virada Nirapathpongporn and Alexis Thompson are all past girls champions.

Related content:

Sea Pines officials say Junior Heritage tournament won't be held anymore www.lowcountrynewspapers.net/archive/2012/10/19/story/sea-pines-officials-say-junior-heritage-tournament-wont-be-held-anymore

Junior Heritage winners break out of pack www.lowcountrynewspapers.net/archive/2012/02/06/story/junior-heritage-winners-break-out-pack

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